Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

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dustblow
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Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

Post by dustblow » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:56 am

At first, I want to say hi to all of you. I've been lurking here for a long time, having Telefunken M15 (not "A") for about 10 years now which gets used few times a week + I bought 388 last month and have been reading TapeOp for over a week, almost every topic about calibration, tape choices, bias issues etc. I want to use my 388 to record next LP "live" at one take, so I need to get the best of it. I have few questions that I haven't found here & anywhere else (I have manual too), maybe some of you exprienced folks may help me? :oops:

I bought LPR35 tape which looks like its +6dB tape and 250-specs.
Unit is cleaned and degaussed.

:arrow: For what I've found best is set repro/playback test with 400hz tone and bias at 12,5k tone.

I did test repro/playback with 400hz at -10dB / 0,316V RMS) and fader set to gray area (7-8) so the meter was reading ZERO. I played it back and had results like +/- 1dB in all channels except channel one (but later on that). Is that OK? Some of you suggest that it should be -3dB after playback, but why? This is my first question. I want to record loudest possible to avoid excessive noise. Background noise is unacceptable and seeing some YouTube video on recording, my 388 is MUCH noiser that exampled I heard...

:arrow: I'm alittle bit confused about biasing 388. I;ve read a lot about it here, and it seems that tape is not needed for that process. Turns out to be super simple then - it must be a fixed value for specific type of tape, right? Just put the 12,5k signal and measure between test points and set "given" value. Does anybody know these values for different tapes - in my case, the LPR35?

:arrow: The recording/playback. I'm a bit confused here. I put the mics on the XLRs, set all the faders to the gray area, set the trim to a nice (0 and up) values,EQ flat, arm channels 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 + even/odd pan, arm all 8 tracks and record. Then rewind,m unarm tracks and press play. It's a lot of noise. What I'm doing wrong? I think I did one time playback that it was super loud and not noisy but I can't reall what I've done and can't repeat that again.. Should I use L/R swiotches somehwere or switch to RMX from MIC on each channels? What is the correct procedure?

Thanks a lot,

Greg

kslight
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Re: Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

Post by kslight » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:19 pm

Well I’m not much help because i actually took my 388s in for their alignment, but I had to purchase the MRL tape for the procedure to be completed.

The manual has a ton of info for how it’s done, though there are a few misprints on older versions related to the transport setup.

LPR35 works great for me and is IMHO the best modern tape you can buy for the 388.

Most likely no channel will be perfectly aligned with the channel next to it, but channel 1 being low could indicate a head wear issue.

The 388 without dbx will be somewhat noisy but if you do you are gainstaging right it’s not bad in loud music...with softer music or if you find it too noisy, I would use the dbx. I found my machines got quieter after servicing and with good tape though didn’t do a direct comparison. I have gone out and done live concerts with it and used them extensively over 9 years and I don’t find it an issue.

Did you try using it for actual microphones yet or are you just feeding it test signals?

dustblow
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Re: Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

Post by dustblow » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:58 am

I recorder band live, but I think the tape hiss is WAY too much there. With the youtube samples and everything I heard "raw" playing from 388 was really quiet.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

Post by markjazzbassist » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:02 am

if you are monitoring via the headphone out on the bottom right of the unit, that headphone circuit is insanely noisy. don't be fooled by that noise, send the XLR outs to an interface/mixer/headphone amp and check the noise that way. should be a hell of a lot quieter.

dustblow
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Re: Tascam 388 calibration guide / help

Post by dustblow » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:01 am

Do you use L/R switches and RMX during playing?

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